ANIMAL owners are being urged to learn basic pet first aid skills as their lack of knowledge could cost lives.

The PDSA is urging pet owners to equip themselves with life-saving skills that can help stabilise a pet in an emergency situation.

While the training doesn’t replace veterinary treatment, the PDSA says the steps could save a pet’s life.

Olivia Anderson-Nathan, PDSA vet, said: “Knowing your ABC’s for animals – airway, breathing and circulation – can help you to assess your pet if they collapse and give CPR if necessary.

“Stemming bleeding using firm pressure or a temporary bandage can buy you valuable time until you can get your pet to the vets. We’ve seen several examples of pet owners putting our advice into practice after coming on our courses, where without them they might not have known what to do.”

Between January 2017 and July this year, the PDSA hosted 93 courses attended by 1,103 animal lovers, teaching them skills such as pet CPR, bandaging and what to do if their pet suffers a seizure.

Janice Latreche came to her beloved puppy’s aid after he began choking and gasping for breath using the skills she learned on the course.

She said: “Milton had somehow got hold of one of my grandson’s action figure toys and was choking on it."

She added: “I tried to see if I could pull the toy out from his mouth but I couldn’t, so I used a technique which is like an animal equivalent of the Heimlich manoeuvre - and it just popped out.”

As soon as the toy became dislodged Milton was able to breathe and Janice calmed him down before taking him to her vet for a check-up.

There are plans to provide even more courses over the next year.

Olivia added: “Our pet first aid courses have been a huge success and demand is rising.

PDSA hosts the courses at various locations including its pet hospitals, community halls and buildings, as well as in partnership with local councils and housing associations.

The charity has also created a new pet first aid guide so people can learn the basics.

It includes step-by-step instructions on what to do in the event of a road traffic accident, if your pet is poisoned, and several other scenarios.

It also covers pet CPR and what to include in a pet first aid kit.

To receive a free copy of the guide by email, visit